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Crime -- again!

barcelona
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Crime -- again!

Hi, realise I'm not going to win many new friends, and perhaps ruffle some old laggards and DEs on here - BUT - I have to report, again about street crime.

Little bit of background - lived here 7 years. Came to live here (from the UK) because I loved the place - and still do.

When I first lived here I used to say exactly as others here have said 'Have your wits about you .. Barcelona? No worse than anywhere else etc etc etc blah blah.' BUT, petty crime here IS getting more frequent, and more serious than, say, 3 years ago.

I live in the Eixample - not a hotbed of bag-snatchers and pickpockets - However, I have to report that three weeks ago, our very local bar, just 50 meters away, was broken into and turned over. The following day the local pharmacy (100 meters away) was robbed by three lads armed with a pisto; the very same day our neighbours' apartment, on the 7th floor, was burgled, and in between the number 55 bus, which stops outside our apartment, was held up by a crazy with a knife. And, a local woman got robbed (400 euros) at the ATM across the street.

'Oh, yeah, happens everywhere, just be careful.' Sorry, doesn't wash.

All this happened within a 400 meter radius within four days.

And, today, this very afternoon, (NOT in the Eixample though) two friends visiting from the U.S. (mother and daughter) were robbed on Calle Princesa.

Now, the mother, from Mass. (originally from Maine) is a seasoned international traveller, (travels to Spain twice a year on business and many other countries) very savvy and street smart. The robbers didn't get her bag with money, cards etc (nor her very expensive Nikon camera).

It was a variation on an old dodge. Unseen, someone threw hot coffee at her then a guy stepped forward, seemingly concerned, offering help. 'Up there,up there' he said, pointing to a balcony, offering serviettes to soak up the mess. While distracted, in a split second, his accomplice grabbed the leather (laptop) bag she had just bought (200 euros) as a gift, containing only her scarf and a few other small, gifty items. It was her final few hours in Barcelona. Instead of watching the U.S.A. v England World Cup soccer match (which she was very much looking forward to) she had to waste hours in the comisaria (police station) filing a report. Upside was (and her 17 year old daughter agreed) the police officer she dealt with was a 'real cutey, gorgeous, patient, understanding and just so good looking'. 'I think,' she said.'The police in New York feast on too many doughnuts.'

To her credit she was very sanguine about it, her daughter not so much - the experience has really shaken her trust in other humans - but, she says, 'It was a lesson learned.'

'What lesson is that?' I asked.

'Never trust cute looking guys offering help.'

So, how ever street smart you think you are, please, be extra vigilant while enjoying the sights here. Especially in El Born, Barrio Gotico, Las Ramblas, Plaza de Catalunya, El Raval - and on the airport train, Placa de Espanya metro station, and Line 4 (yellow line) between Barceloneta and Verdaguer.

Barcelona really is a beautiful, beautiful city, with much to offer the curious, the intrepid, the romantic ...

'What a souvenir,' our very local bar owner, still sorting the mess from his break-in, said when I reported the tale of our friends' experience. 'Will they ever come back?'

Edited: 17 July 2010, 17:30
Barcelona, Spain
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61. Re: Crime -- again!

Those concerned about visiting Barcelona may read some positive reviews for a change?

For instance the 3 most recent:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187497-i44-k37465…

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187497-i44-k37578…

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187497-i44-k37571…

I'm not in denial, I have been a victim of pickpockets as well once in Barcelona (and last time in the "safe" Vienna a few weeks ago!). There is a problem, but blowing it out of proportion does not help. You know it may happen, you take basic precautions, you have big chances of having a great trip. It's simple as that. If you want a totally stress-free holiday choose another destination that a big touristy city.

Barcelona, Spain
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barcelona
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63. Re: Crime -- again!

Went up to Montjuich on Saturday (July 3rd) for Montjïc de Nit (70 free concerts at 13 different venues and all the musems open for free until 2am and free buses until 3am linking all the venues). Good fun.

Anyway, on the way there we changed metro at Sants for Espanya. I was with my partner and two teenage boys. I warned the lads to be a bit careful at both Sants and Espanya. As we got onto the metro at Sants 5 blokes tried to get my wallet by crowding around me in the door etc etc, just before the doors closed. It's an old trick I'm wise to. Pushed two of them off and they scarpered. Less than 5 minutes later, after getting off the metro at Espanya another gang of 5 (two teeenage girls and three teenage lads) tried to pickpocket me as we queued to use the escalator. Twice in less than 5 minutes! No exaggeration. They scarpered when I took a photo of one of the girls attempting to rob someone else.

We reported the incident to two dog handling security (Prosegur) guys in the station, suggesting they'd do better to be on the platform where the action was. They told us that they were near the entrance because they knew who was trouble and they could prevent them from entering the station (bull - if you ask me).

Anyway, it ocurred to me later, (having lived here 7 years and very rarely having trouble except for the past couple of years) that I only get targetted when I'm with the family - never have any trouble when on my own. Which, could in part, explain why some on the message board here, never experience these crimes. I think they see me, certain age, fairly well dressed, with teenage kids, and think - I'm a credit card carrying affluent Dad with a wodge of cash with which to treat the kids. (I don't have a credit card). I find it all very amusing - especially when I read comments on here suggesting that either there is no problem or that it's exaggerated.

The same night, in Gràcia, a 17 year old Catalan friend of the family, was accosted by four lads - they grabbed him by the throat and threatened him with a baseball bat. They got his wallet and phone and i-pod. He went to the station (comisaria) where he leafed through a photo gallery of suspects - he identified three of them. - but none had a fixed address, so the police are not able to follow it up. I mention this incident for a couple of reasons 1) It's the first I've heard of such an incident in Gràcia for a long, long while, and 2) because Yaray is a local lad, not an affluent looking tourist. It's surprised us all - but don't worry, according to some on the message board, street crime is probably no more prevalent here than in your home city. Regards. Enjoy Barcelona.

barcelona
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64. Re: Crime -- again!

"If you want a totally stress-free holiday choose another destination that a big touristy city." But that's the problem - I live here - I'm not looking for a totally strees free holiday - just looking to be able to walk the streets and go about my business without any hassle. Or, maybe I should go live somewhere else?

Edinburgh...
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65. Re: Crime -- again!

I ALWAYS enjoy Barcelona.

I NEVER like talking crime on here.

66. Re: Crime -- again!

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This post was determined to be inappropriate by the TripAdvisor community and has been removed.

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Removed on: 15 July 2010, 22:05
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67. Re: Crime -- again!

There should be CRIME FORUM so you can all talk crime and feel better, have all the first time posters join in and all the others who love the subject.

Soon as I saw this topic first time, I knew it would get over 50 contributions,

We are not denying crime, its in every guidbook in the last 30 years I own on Barcelona, the only guidebook i couldnt find it mentioned was my 1882 guidebook although it did warn about attacks on steam trains, and mentioned that every police office carried a rifle. Let's get back to the good old days I suggest.

In fact, I am not going to ask the Mayor any favours, I am writing to TripAdvisor and asking them to provide a special forum for crime.

Barcelona, Spain
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68. Re: Crime -- again!

haarlsonBarcelona: I do live here too. I'm not in denial. I had got my wallet picked once in the metro, near Glories where I do live. Some of my friends had been picked too. A friend was attacked many years ago with a knife. Still, this is a city where I can walk alone at 3am without fear. I can't say the same about other places I'd been.

I choose Barcelona as a place to live 8 years ago and I do not regret it. It's just my experience. I understand yours or others' experiences may be different. But mine is not more valuable than others.

69. Re: Crime -- again!

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This post was determined to be inappropriate by the TripAdvisor community and has been removed.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

Our staff may also remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason. Thanks for being a part of the TripAdvisor travel community!

Removed on: 15 July 2010, 22:05
Edinburgh...
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70. Re: Crime -- again!

Kowalski,

all you have contributed to a TRAVEL forum is On CRIME and i question WHY you revel in the one subject and refuse to contribute anything about anything else on barcelona.

We have had far too many first posters on this forum putting this magnificent city down talking about crime and nothing else and i think you need to find your own forum as there is plenty else to talk about or help others with who are preparing trips and need advice.

So please will you help us all by contributing something positive about barcelona? Or are you only here to be entertained by crime?????